Contents: Introduction. The Ghat's story. The post master. Debts and dues. Subha. Mahamaya. She who was in the middle. Punishment. The conclusion. The judge. The elder sister. The lost jewel. Haimanti. The wife's letter. The last night. Glossary.
"Through Rabindranath Tagore's literary genius shines best in his poetry, his short stories come as a close second and are world-class in their artistry and craftsmanship. Tagore, the father of Bengali short stories, set such a high standard that it has rarely been surpassed since. The principal driving force of his literary work was not his love for God but his humanism. The stories in this book present one aspect of this humanism-portraits of women. These portraits are drawn in soft earth colours and they look real and familiar and last long in our mind. The characters shine like stars and do not blind the eye.
The fourteen stories in this selection give Tagore's reflections on child-marriage, the dowry system, growing gulf between city and country, bigoted orthodoxy of caste system and even wife burning. The story, Wife's Letter, is a scathing indictment of the status of women in a man's world, an issue that would take centre stage decades later even in the most industrialised liberal democracies in the world. The women come from all socio-economic background, from the rural landless labour class to the urban affluent class.
The translations are easy to read, maintain the heightened description of feelings, rich description of nature, overall vitality and flow of the original." (jacket)